The Messiah's Real Name
The Name Above Every Other Name
Written by David M Rogers
Updated: March 2010
Table of Contents
The name Jesus is precious to hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide. Through a series of circumstances, events and mistakes, the name of the Messiah of Holy Scriptures has been passed down to us as Jesus. Sincere Christians worship the Savior by using that name, sing praises to that name and call upon that name Jesus for salvation and deliverance. The common rendering of Philippians 2:10, 11 underscores the reason for this love of the name Jesus:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (KJV).
It is right that sincere worshippers of the Messiah and our Savior should desire to call upon his name and praise his name and sing to his name. But, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, "surely our fathers have inherited lies" (16:19). The true name of the Messiah has not been faithfully delivered to this generation of believers. In fact, for many centuries, the name of the Messiah of Scripture has been mistakenly rendered Jesus and many have been deceived as to the real name of the One whom we all want to adore and worship.
What is the name of the Messiah? Although the popular English rendering is Jesus, we know that cannot actually be his name. Other cultures pronounce his name in a way that is congruous with their own languages. What's in a name? Does it matter that the Messiah is called by so many different names? You decide after you consider the following information....
The faith as put forth in the New Testament Christian Scriptures is centered upon one individual. This man is presented as the Messiah, who was the promised One of the Hebrew Scriptures, who was to come and bring salvation to the world and fulfill all the promises made to the patriarchs. Most English Bibles use the name Jesus when translating the Greek name used in the New Testament Scriptures for the Messiah. But there is a considerable problem with using this name to call upon and refer to the Messiah of the Bible.
At the heart of the problem with using the name Jesus as a reference to the Messiah is that the name Jesus wasn't and isn't his real name. The historical Nazarene was a Hebrew. He was Jewish, born of Jewish parents. He and his parents and all Israel during those times spoke Hebrew as their primary language. Therefore, he was given a Hebrew name.
But the name Jesus is not a Hebrew name. There is no name even close to sounding like Jesus in Hebrew. Therefore, it is easy to see that the name Jesus is not derived from the Hebrew language. In fact, it is a name derived from the Greek language.
It is a common practice for foreigners coming over to the United States to substitute their own given name for a similar sounding English name. This practice is most notable with Indians coming over to work in the U.S. The Indians typically have very long names which English speaking people have great difficulty pronouncing. So the Indians accommodate us by taking on a much shorter and more common English name in order to fit in more easily. This is also true of people of many other nationalities. It's much easier for everyone to be able to associate a common name with a person.
The name Jesus has come to us in this manner. The Hebrew name given at birth to the Messiah was [vwhy(transliterated YHUShA). The reason we know this is that the Messiah's name as given in the Greek New Testament is the same name as Joshua son of Nun, as indicated by the usage of this same Greek name in Hebrews 4:8. The name for Joshua, when rendered into the Septuagint Greek text is VIhsou/j, the same name in the Greek New Testament which is rendered Jesus by our English Bibles.
So what happened was this: YHUShA, the given Hebrew name of Joshua and of the Messiah was rendered VIhsou/j (I-ay-sous) in the Greek text, because the closest Greek name to the Hebrew YHUShA was I-ay-sous. From the Greek VIhsou/j the English Bible translators took the first Greek letter "I" and rendered it "J" (which was actually a normal thing to do in that day). The "ay" sound got shortened to an "e" sound. And the "sous" ending was shortened to "sus". Putting it together, the Hebrew "Yahusha" became in Greek "I-ay-sous" and then into English as "Jesus".
The name Jesus came to us innocently enough. But there is a huge problem with this name. The root, derivation and meaning of the name Jesus should be startling - even distressing - to those who profess a genuine and sincere faith in the Master. The angel told his mother Miriam that the name given to the baby was to be because he would "save his people from their sins" (see Matthew 1:21). This is what the Hebrew name [vwhy means - "Yahu saves." But the name Jesus certainly does not have this same meaning.
To ascertain the origin and meaning of the name Jesus, we need first to take a glance at the form of the name. There are several other names which share a resemblance to the form (spelling) of this name. Dionysus and Bacchus are well known pagan Greek deities which share the ending of the name Jesus. This is our first clue. Secondly, the Greek name used in the New Testament manuscripts is transliterated "I-ay-sous" or "yah-sous." This "sous" ending on the Greek name attributed to the Messiah is identical in sound to Dionysous, who is also known in ancient literature as the "sin-bearing son of Zeus." The name Dionysous is fashioned after his father's name Zeus, the Greek super god and father of the pantheon. For this reason, many language experts believe that the name Jesus actually originated from a form of the name of the pagan Greek god Zeus, and not from the Hebrew name referred to in Scripture.
The "Iay" which forms the first part of the Greek Iaysous is possibly a reference to another Greek deity Iay - the goddess of healing. The Greek name Iaysous, then, is probably a combination of the names of these two Greek gods, Iay and Zeus. This could roughly be translated as "Zeus is healer." (Others suggest a different source word for "Iay" which would render the meaning of this name as "hail, Zeus" or "praise Zeus.")
Alexander Hislop, author of The Two Babylons, uncovers the Satanic counterfeiting of Dionysus, son of Zeus for the true son of Elohim, who takes away the sin of the world:
Now, this Babylonian god, known in Greece as "the sin-bearer," and in India as the "Victim-Man," among the Buddhists of the East, the original elements of whose system are clearly Babylonian, was commonly addressed as the "Savior of the world." It has been all along well enough known that the Greeks occasionally worshiped the supreme god under the title of "Zeus the Savior."... When it is known that "Zeus the Savior" was only a title of Dionysus, the "sin-bearing Bacchus," his character, as "The Savior," appears in quite a different light (Chapter 2, The Deification of the Child, Section 2, Sub-Section 5).
The link Hislop has uncovered between the pagan savior and sin-bearer with the name attributed to the biblical Savior and sin-bearer, in light of the similarity in the names of each, suggests that the Greek name Iaysous and its corresponding English transliteration, Jesus, are directly related to and derived from the Greek god Zeus and his son Dionysous.
[vwhy (Yahusha) is the Messiah's Hebrew language name - the name that was given him at birth by his Hebrew speaking parents - the name that was given for him to his mother by the angel. The name Yahusha is the Hebrew name of the Old Testament man known as "Joshua." This name means, "Yahu saves" or "Yahu helps."
We should not minimize the effect that the Greek language and culture, which was the mainstream language and culture of that day, had on the propagation of the message Messiah brought to his disciples. As the faith in Messiah's atoning sacrifice was proclaimed and receiving in the pagan Greek world, it was natural that the Greek mind-set and culture would influence the way those converts expressed their faith. In places where there wasn't a strong history and foundation of Torah study and understanding, the Greek mindset and culture would make inroads into the way converts would live their lives. So, the Greek "equivalent" name Iaysous, because he (Dionysus) was also a "sin-bearing Son of God", would have been thought to be an acceptable and more palatable alternative to the Hebrew name Yahusha for the believing Greek community.
In fact, what has really happened is as follows: The early community of believers was influenced by a number of factors as outlined in Samuele Bacchiocchi's book, From Sabbath To Sunday, to change their form of worship from a strictly scriptural model based upon the teaching of Yahusha and the Torah, to a radically different form of worship modeled after the pagan sun-god worship of Mithraism. Just as Constantine changed the scriptural seventh-day Sabbath to first-day Sun worship, the scriptural holy days into the pagan holidays of Christmas and Easter, and the Torah based walk of faith into a de-Judaized anti-Torah lifestyle, even the very name of the Messiah was stripped of its Hebraic roots and source (Yahusha) and was paganized and Hellenized into the form which is fashioned after the name of their supreme deity Zeus (Sous) and his son, Dionyzeus (Dionysous). And in its final form it became Iayzeus (Iaysous). Then, unwitting English Bible translators transliterated the Greek Iayzeus (Iaysous) into Jesus.
I, for one, do not want to be addressing the set-apart Savior by the name which honors the pagan Greek god Zeus or anything similar to it. I believe that no one else who shares this precious faith in the Creator would want to call Elohim by the name of any pagan god, either. It is time for all true and genuine believers in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and in the Messiah to cast behind them the lies that our fathers have inherited and passed on down to us. It's time to repent of these wrong ways of worshipping our Creator and to return to the true understanding of our biblical fathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'acov. Let's start calling upon the Savior of the world by his real name. Let's address him by his true name - the name Yahusha.
To their credit, congregations of the Sacred Name Movement have desired to call upon the Messiah by his given Hebrew name. They understand, correctly, that He was not given a Greek name (i.e. "Iaysous" or Jesus) at birth. But, that in fact, he was given a Hebrew name which was well known and was in common usage at that time.
The birth account in the book of Mattityahu (Matthew) tells us that "he shall be called VIhsou/j for he shall save his people from their sins" (1:21). The Greek manuscripts have the name VIhsou/j which is rendered Jesus in most English language Bible translations. But we know that his true name was not the Greek name VIhsou/j because he was a Hebrew Jew. What then is his Hebrew name? How can we be sure? A little bit of analysis of the available data and a little bit of reason will lead us to the correct answer.
First of all, whatever his true Hebrew name is, it must have the meaning of the explanation given by the angel to his mother Miriam (Mary). She was told, "for he shall save his people from their sins." In the Hebrew language and culture, particularly in ancient times, names were given to children which related to the circumstances of their birth, or after a relative, or a name with some prophetic significance. Thus, the meaning of the child's name has something to do with "saving his people from their sins."
Secondly, let it be noted that the Greek name VIhsou/j is used some 916 times in reference to the Messiah, is also used in the New Testament as a reference to the one we know as Joshua son of Nun. In Hebrews 4:8 we are told that "if VIhsou/j had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after those things." The context indicates that he is referring to Joshua son of Nun. Of significance is that the name VIhsou/j was used here to render into Greek the Hebrew name for Joshua. In fact, in the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Tanach, the name VIhsou/j is always used to translate Joshua's Hebrew name (a few of those times, there is a slight difference in the spelling of the name)
The Hebrew name of Joshua non of Nun is [;vuAhy> (pronounced Yehoshua) in the Masoretic rabbinic Hebrew text. By unanimous consent, it is agreed that this name has the meaning of "Yahu saves" or "Yahu helps." Thus, we have agreement in the evidence of the usage of VIhsou/j to translate the name of Joshua, and the meaning of the name of Joshua. This evidence points to the irrefutable conclusion that the Hebrew name of the Messiah is the same as the Hebrew name of the man we call Joshua.
When the Messianic Movement began to attract Jews to the Messiah, the name "Yeshua" was adopted as the acceptable Hebrew name for the Messiah, rather than the offensive, Hellenistically derived Jesus. (It is offensive to refer to the true Messiah using the name of a pagan deity.) The word "Yeshua," in the Hebrew tongue, is the generic term usually translated "salvation." Unfortunately, this is not the name given to the babe who was born in the succah in Bethlehem and placed in the animals' feeding trough (manger).
Sacred Name groups which sprang up out of the Messianic Movement, who were not concerned with the rabbinic traditions and restrictions which still handcuff the Messianic Jews, were more interested in ascertaining the actual name of the Messiah. His name came to be rendered Yahshua, Yahushua, YaOwHuSHuA, YWHWSHUA, and by others. Each of these representations by Sacred Name groups have been honest and reverent attempts to accurately pronounce Messiah's given human name. We have no criticism for anyone who uses these renderings and pronunciations. However, none of those renderings accurately vocalize the Hebrew name [vwhy
In order to properly pronounce the Hebrew name of the Messiah, we must return to the Hebrew spelling and look at similar names and how they are pronounced. The Hebrew manuscripts record the name of Joshua some 144 times in the Tanak (Old Testament). This name is spelled by the letters [vwhy which are the letters called yuhd, hay, vav, sheen, ayin. The name as originally written did not have vowel points. The vowel points were added by the rabbis around the tenth century of the common era to aid in remembering how they pronounce the Hebrew. The rabbis pronounced this name as "Yehoshua" and so gave the vowel points for this pronunciation so that in today's Masoretic Hebrew text it appears as [;vuAhy>
But the rabbis' pronunciation is not inspired. Just as it is a commonly accepted assumption that the rabbis intentionally scrambled the vowel points under the name of Elohim hwhy (Yahuwah) in order to conceal its proper vocalization, it is also likely that to continue to hide the correct pronunciation of hwhy (Yahuwah), the rabbis intentionally mispronounced [vwhy and therefore gave this name the wrong vowel points to propagate this mis-vocalization.
The reasons the rabbis would not pronounce Joshua's name correctly may be twofold: First, they didn't want to pronounce the first three letters of hwhy (Yahuwah) which occur in the Hebrew name Joshua. And secondly, because the Messiah was given this name, the rabbis would not pronounce it correctly, because they did not want to dignify his claim that he is equal with Elohim.
The actual pronunciation is ascertained by considering several other Hebrew names in the Scriptures, the vocalization of which is not disputed. First, the poetic shortened form of hwhy (Yahuwah) is seen numerous times in the Psalms in the expression Hy"" Wll.h; ("hallelu Yah"), which means praise Yah. Hy"" is the first syllable in the name of hwhy and is correctly pronounced in the Hebrew Psalms as "Yah." (The dot in the letter H ["hey"] suggests that the "h" sound is to be fully pronounced rather than to be diminished or faded in vocalization - which would be the case otherwise. Normally an "h" at the end of a word fades and becomes virtually silent. Thus, the "h" is Yah is to be fully pronounced.)
Additionally, there are Hebrew names which use the first three letters of the name hwhy - namely why. Yeshayahu Why"å[.v;(y> (Isaiah in Isaiah 1:1), Yirmyahu Why"ßm.r>yI (Jeremiah in Jer 1:1) and Eliyahu WhY""liae (Elijah in 1 Kings 17:1) all attest to the correct pronunciation of the first three letters of the Name. In each of these three names, the last three letters why are pronounced "Yahu." The rabbis pronounce these same letters in Joshua's name as "Yeho"! But there is no compelling evidence or reason why Yahu should be vocalized differently merely because it occurs at the beginning of the Messiah's name. Thus, instead of the rabbinic pronunciation "Yeho," we should render the first part of Elohim's name hwhy and the first part of Messiah's human name [vwhy as "Yahu."
The final part of Messiah's Hebrew name is traditionally rendered "shua", but this too is incorrect. The "oo" (u) part of this is the pronouncing of the rabbinic vowel point between the sheen and the ayin. The vowel points were not part of the original spelling of the Hebrew. These "vowels" were added by the rabbis more than a millennium after the Scriptures were written. So, if we remove this uninspired rabbinic vowel pointing and pronounce only the original inspired spelling of this name, we should be pronouncing this last part of his name as "sha."
The reason for this is twofold. First, we note that the names for the prophets Yesha-yahu Why"å[.v;(y> (Isaiah in Isaiah 1:1) and Elisha [v'Ûylia/- (Elisha in 1 Kings 19:16) both affirm that "sheen" followed by "ayin" is correctly pronounced "sha." Yeshayahu has the same meaning as [vwhy . Yeshayahu means "he saves, (that is) Yahu", while [vwhy means "Yahu saves." Elisha' has the meaning, "My El saves."
Secondly, if the name had the "shua" vowel point and rendering, the meaning of the name would be "Yahu is opulent." And we are certain that he is not! The Hebrew word [;Wv (shua) has two distinct meanings. The first is "cry for help, scream" And the second is "opulence, wealth, rich, affluent." Certainly, the "shua" ending on Messiah's name is not possible, else his name would mean, "Yahu is crying for help" or "Yahu is affluent"!
The Hebrew root from which the name comes is [v;yO: [v;y†' ("yesha" or "yasha"). This word means "help, deliverance, salvation." The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament says our word "yesha" means 1. to receive help; 2. to be victorious; or 3. to accept help. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament attests that the meaning of our word "yesha" is to "be saved, be delivered (Niphal); save, deliver, give victory, help; be safe; take vengeance, preserve (Hiphil). Clearly, this fits the Messiah's name which was given because he was to "save his people from their sins." The [v ending of the word "yesha" clearly has the "sha" vocalization. Thus, Messiah's name has the same vocalization since it was taken from the root word, "yesha" - to save.
Putting it all together, we take the "Yahu" which is demonstrated to be the common pronunciation of "yud, hay, vav" and the "sha" which is the common pronunciation of "sheen, ayin" and we arrive at Yahusha. Thus the Messiah's correctly spelled and pronounced name is not "Yehoshua" nor "Yahushua" nor "Yahshua" but rather, Yahusha, which translated means, "Yahu saves."
When calling upon the name which is above every name, I'm certain that we want to be calling upon the correct name. There are many other names which make claim to be great. Let's not make the mistake of calling upon our Messiah in the wrong name. If we call upon a name which is the name of a false deity, we can't be sure of what response we might get. Nor could we be sure of who is responding.
The Messiah of Scripture has a real name. It is not Jesus. His real name, the name which we should be pronouncing with our lips, is the name Yahusha. When you call upon the name of the Messiah, be sure to use his real name. Yahusha is his name.